Letter: British Library's expansion plans

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The Independent Online
Sir: While the juxtaposition of George Gilbert Scott's St Pancras station and Colin St John Wilson's British Library is indeed exciting ('A marriage made in NW1', 9 June), no one who knows Professor Wilson would believe the outcome to be accidental.

Your readers will be aware that construction of the new building is the responsibility of the Department of National Heritage, not the British Library. I understand, however, that water got into the building during a thunderstorm and that a leak occurred from an incorrectly fitted joint on a service pipe, but in a construction project this could be hardly out of the ordinary. There have been no electrical fires; shelving has never collapsed; and, in any case, remedial work has given the library many miles of magnificent shelves, which will look even better when they contain books.

Lastly, the library knows of no railway development that will seriously encroach on the five-acre site to the north of the building as presently planned. The British Library needs this land for its middle- and long-term future, and we are in discussion with the Department of National Heritage over our development plans.

Yours faithfully,


Chief Executive

The British Library

London, NW1

10 June